Apparent Age & Dating Methods

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nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
For a young-earth creationist who believes God made creation with apparent age, are dating methods irrelevant? In other words, if creation was created with a certain apparent age (??yr) and since we don't know how many years of apparent age it was created with, how could any dating method verify how old a certain element in creation is? (ie, that the element would actually be 6000yr NOT 6000yr + ??yr) So are dating methods then irrelevant for the young earth creationist?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
The connection between apparent age and dating methods is that the greater your apparent age, the more creative the dating methods you have to use.
 

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
Some dating methods would be fine. For example, determining if something is from the 2nd century or the 5th century.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
For a young-earth creationist who believes God made creation with apparent age, are dating methods irrelevant? In other words, if creation was created with a certain apparent age (??yr) and since we don't know how many years of apparent age it was created with, how could any dating method verify how old a certain element in creation is? (ie, that the element would actually be 6000yr NOT 6000yr + ??yr) So are dating methods then irrelevant for the young earth creationist?
It's really not possible to date anything with complete certainty. Let's take Carbon dating as an example. Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of the element Carbon. It has been measured (since the last century) to have a half-life of about 5000 years. This means that, after 5000 years, the amount of C-14 in a given sample will be half of what it was before decay began.

Carbon-14 occurs at a fixed percentage until an organism dies and then the amount present begins to decay. Thus, assuming that the percentage of C-14 to C-12 was the same constant 5000 years ago as it is today (or 2000, 1000, 200 years) *and* that half-life never changed, then we can know the age of a sample.

This is a rough description but notice there are assumptions for any dating method (radioactive or otherwise):
1. The rate of change of a measured "thing" is the same today (when we measured it) as it was thousands of years ago.
2. The rate of change was completely uniform over that measured period.
3. We know what the sample's composition was when it began.

I wouldn't say that dating methods are irrelevant but they are always tentative.
 

Bookworm

Puritan Board Freshman
For a young-earth creationist who believes God made creation with apparent age, are dating methods irrelevant? In other words, if creation was created with a certain apparent age (??yr) and since we don't know how many years of apparent age it was created with, how could any dating method verify how old a certain element in creation is? (ie, that the element would actually be 6000yr NOT 6000yr + ??yr) So are dating methods then irrelevant for the young earth creationist?

No, dating methods aren't irrelevant to the young age creationist. Most dating methods are attempts to determine the age of some specific event that occurred, e.g. the time a particular fossil was buried or the time a particular lava flow was erupted. Since young age creationists accept that several thousand years of history have passed since the time of creation, and that many pre-Flood, Flood and post-Flood events occurred during that time, there's a lot that can (potentially at least) be dated. The problems arise when we try to determine age based on the assumption that present-day processes are necessarily indicative of what took place in the past, especially in terms of process rates. There are good reasons to think that things happened a lot faster during the Flood!
 

rookie

Puritan Board Sophomore
From my perspective, and I am often flawed, but most of the dating mechanisms that exist are flawed with the flood. Especially believing in a global flood. Being as horrifying and the major catasrophy that it was. Imagine seeing millions of animals and humans, buried alive, and still with food undigested in theirs stomachs.

So, as I mentioned, I personally see that the dating techniques are only as good as the constistent atmosphere, oxygen, carbon and whatever else they use to date things.

Unless something has a time stamp on it, it's virtually impossible to really tell how old things really are.
 

Tripel

Puritan Board Senior
Great question in the OP.

I've wondered about the same thing. Specifically, I don't understand dating in relation to the human race and dinosaurs. My understanding (and I admit to possibly being wrong) is that the human race only dates back 10,000 or fewer years. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, date back millions of years, according to the majority of scientists. So if the same science is being used, and since young-earthers believe dinosaurs and humans lived together, how is there such a discrepancy in the dating?

I understand that you may think the science is flawed, but why would it be flawed on massively different scales?
 

Bookworm

Puritan Board Freshman
I've wondered about the same thing. Specifically, I don't understand dating in relation to the human race and dinosaurs. My understanding (and I admit to possibly being wrong) is that the human race only dates back 10,000 or fewer years. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, date back millions of years, according to the majority of scientists.

Using conventional dating, humans go back much further than 10,000 years. Homo sapiens fossils go back around 150,000-200,000 years and, if other hominid fossils (e.g. Neanderthals, Homo erectus) are considered members of the human family they go back much, much further still. Homo erectus goes back to at least 1.8 million years. Dinosaurs are found in sediments conventionally dated between about 230 and 65 million years old.

So if the same science is being used, and since young-earthers believe dinosaurs and humans lived together, how is there such a discrepancy in the dating?

I understand that you may think the science is flawed, but why would it be flawed on massively different scales?

The conventional dates are primarily derived from radiometric dating of rocks associated with the fossil-bearing sediments. There is definitely a trend, such that older sediments (i.e. those lower in the rock sequence) tend to give older radiometric dates and younger sediments (i.e. those higher in the rock sequence) tend to give younger radiometric dates. That's why they are assigned such different ages by conventional scientists. But creationists think that radiometric decay rates might not have been constant in the past and so, although the dates give a relative "order of events", they do not reflect the actual, absolute age of the rocks being dated. The different dates reflect the order of events that have taken place in biblical history (Creation Week, Pre-Flood, Early Flood, Late Flood, Post-Flood). You can read a bit more on how creationists interpret the dating trends in this article. The article also links to two previous parts of the series.
 
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